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YSA Actualising Your Depictions

Posted by admin on September 17, 2010 in Design, Development, Execution, Participation, User Experience |

Now that sounds like a weird title, doesn’t it? What do I mean by ‘actualising your depictions’? What I’m referring to is the depiction of a character searching the internet, or having a social media conversation in a video, and then not having them seeded online. That is: I hate it when I watch characters doing things on the Internet (in a film, TV show or webisode) and then I (of course) jump online to see the evidence of their activity only to find it isn’t there or it is different. I witnessed this recently and so that is why I decided to rant about it now. It was also done by a person/company that didn’t intend to do a transmedia project and so I’m not giving them a bad time, necessarily. So, what happened?

A couple of days ago Twitter announced the forthcoming launch of the New Twitter:

As many (most) of you would of noticed, the character in the video tweets a pic. I, of course, went straight to the character’s Twitter page (who turns out to be the guy who makes the Twitter videos – which is fine, nice meta). I’m happy to see Jeremy Brigg’s (@gigglebriggs) page does intend have the tweets featured in the video (see screenshot below):

BUT, when I open up the Twitpic it is not the same image as the one depicted in the video:

Source: http://twitpic.com/2mty7m

Source: Screenshot from video

The image is by another person, and is a similar image (of a moon), but is not the image depicted in the video and is by someone else. This sucks. It sucks because it is clear the Twitter implementation is not considered part of the video experience (although it is half-way there). It is clear the creators didn’t think anyone would notice or care. Only the video matters.

This situation is emblematic of a pre-transmedia mindset. In the past (and many times in the present), creators think only about the main medium and don’t care about what the experience across media is like. They start to make an effort but if they don’t decide to make each medium a meaningful and equal part of the experience then it is treated as lesser.

Consider this example from the Godsend movie, where a character searches online for a (fictional) corporation.

I did have images of the character viewing the webpage but I cannot find it in my numerous backups over the years (probably in the two external hard drives I have that are still corrupted). In this scene the character searches and views a corporation. If you went to the website, it existed, but it looked different to the page depicted in the film:

Now the webpage has been taken over by someone who has taken all the images out and has put ads there (obviously taking advantage of the traffic they’re getting). The lack of continuity from the website in the film to the online version annoyed me. I then do of course love it when conversations and sites are actualised with continuity. For instance, I enjoyed watching this Jake and Amir video back in 2008:

And then jumping into Twitter to find the character’s posts as they occurred in the video:

Now, obviously you cannot view these tweets after the watching the video now. That is one problem with creating authentic social media conversations after a broadcast or screening. But it is bloody fun when you do catch it.

Do people really care though? Since the release of the New Twitter video, there are now over 1.500 views of the Twitpic alluded to in the video, and comments by people. And as I like to cite, multiple visits and comments at a website created by a fan for a website depicted in the Bourne Ultimatum. The character Jason Bourne searches Google for an investment company, Sewell and Marbury. The site is there and depicted in the movie. But the site hadn’t been created by the producers and so a fan secured it and created it to a small degree according to the fiction at www.sewellmarbury.com. The website was created in 2007 and has had to date over one-thousand comments from people all over the world (more would have visited the site and not left a comment).

I talk about this example and how a domain name, password, social media account, email and phone number glimpsed in a TV show or film is a powerful call to action to many people. So, it sucks when this opportunity is ignored, misunderstood or used to ill effect.

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